When I hear the word “hitchhiker”, two things come to mind: ghosts, and serial killers. Of course, that’s probably not what most hitchhikers are actually like… those are just the stories we hear about them most often. 24-year-old Trevor Daneliuk is living proof that that hitchhiker you just passed on the side of the road is more than likely an average, totally-not-undead guy. He’s also live-streaming his whole journey to hitchhike to as many states as possible on Twitch as proof. He’s been going since April 10th, having started out in Port Angeles, WA.
Another common misconception about hitchhiking is that it’s dangerous. While he’ll cop that it’s not as safe as taking a plane or a bus, he is adamant that it’s actually safer than most think. Only picking up rides that allow him to live-stream probably prevents any would-be murderers from offering him a seat in their car, too.
“It’s not what you might think. From all my hitchhiking I can’t say I’ve ever been picked up by a bad person. Certainly a lot of weird people, but never anyone who meant any harm.”
It also helps that Daneliuk a seasoned hitchhiking pro. Even though he’s only 24, he’s been at it since he was 19 and has already hitchhiked across Canada, Ireland, Wales, England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Japan, and Australia, in addition to the US. He also knows the laws on hitchhiking (it’s illegal in 5 US states, and others allow it with certain restrictions.) One of the most surprising stats from Daneliuk? He says that on average, he only has to wait between 20 and 30 minutes to find a ride.
As for his live-streaming, he uses Twitch, and is one of their more popular IRL streamers. He live-streams the whole process, from making the cardboard signs he uses to let people know where he’s going, to waiting on someone to pick him up on the side of the road, to the conversations he has with the drivers who offer him rides. It’s not always thrilling or glamorous, but it’s cool to feel like a fly on the wall as he interacts with people, and to see him explore these far off locations live.
And when I say it’s not always glamorous, it’s really not. Hitchhiking is pretty cheap, and Daneliuk keeps his costs down further by camping on the side of the road, couch surfing with followers or drivers, and eating a lot of fast food. Twitch has allowed him to get the occasional hotel room, too. He’ll also use airline miles as needed to get to places like Alaska and Hawaii. It’s an exhausting endeavor (even more so when you consider all of the work and heavy gear needed for the live-streaming) but one that’s ultimately worth it for Daneliuk.
Here are more inspirational stories from the road…